James Bash and The Oregonian have published a wonderful profile on our A Ukrainian Wedding concert, including interviews with Nadia Tarnawsky and Inna Kovtun:
The war in Ukraine has made its culture more precious than ever, especially traditions that might become lost after the smoke clears. One of Ukraine’s unique cultural gems involves the music and customs that accompany a traditional wedding. You can hear these evocative songs in “A Ukrainian Wedding,” which will be performed by the women of Cappella Romana with guest Ukrainian singers.
The program is curated by Nadia Tarnawsky, a professional singer and folklorist who gives workshops on Ukrainian music throughout the nation.
“I grew up speaking Ukrainian as a first language,” said Tarnawsky, “My father came to Cleveland, Ohio during World War II, and my mother was born in the U.S. Her family came here from Ukraine in the late Nineteenth Century with the first wave of immigrants.”
A Ukrainian Wedding
Friday 19 May 2023, 7:30 P.M.
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
Saturday 20 May 2023, 8:00 P.M.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
Sunday 21 May 2023, 3:00 P.M.
Christ the King Parish
sung by the women of Cappella Romana
Tarnawsky has a bachelors in music education from Case Western Reserve University, where she has also pursued a masters in ethnomusicology. From 2017 to 2018, she spent 10 months in Ukraine on a Fulbright Scholarship to study its folk music and traditions.
During that time, Tarnawsky traveled with Inna Kovtun, artistic director of the Kyiv-based ensemble Rozhanytsia, to villages where they learned and recorded songs. Since the war started in Ukraine last year, Kovtun has moved to Portland with her daughter. Her husband remains in Ukraine.
“It is important to get these songs,” said Kovtun. “There aren’t that many people who remember all of the verses. Now there are even fewer people because of the war. Nadia and I just listened to them. These are old songs, but I can learn the melody after hearing it one time. The music speaks to my soul.”
Because most of the wedding music is sung by the women of the villages, the concert will feature the women of Cappella Romana plus Tarnawsky, Kovtun, and Hanna Tischenko, who is also a professional folk singer from Ukraine now living as a refugee in Chicago.
The Cappella Romana program draws from wedding folk songs that are not from a particular region of Ukraine, but from all around the country.…—James Bash, The Oregonian